Matt Adams sat down with Gary Williams on Golf Channel’s Morning Drive to discuss his new book “The Golf Round I’ll Never Forget”
Justin Lower joined the No Laying Up crew to share his personal journey as well as his path as a professional golfer.
Justin lost his brother and father in a fatal car accident when he was 15 years old. The tragedy is something he carries with himself each day as he honors their memory and works to achieve his dream of playing on the PGA Tour.
Justin Lower is used to it by now. People just can’t pronounce his last name correctly.
It rhymes with ‘Power.’
And since he’s inside The 25 at the halfway point of the Web.com Tour’s 2019 season, he’s hoping that a trip to the PGA TOUR will make sure no one mispronounces his name again.
Lower has four top-25 finishes this year, including a runner-up result at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open presented by MISTRAS, which was his best-ever Web.com Tour finish.
The former baseball player still loves the game – he threw out the first pitch at a Cleveland Indians game last year – along with all the sports teams from Cleveland. He’s also got some great stories of watching the WGC-Bridgestone every year at Firestone as a youngster. And, he’s moved back to Ohio recently as he prepares to marry a girl he’s known since high school, Janise, this September.
But Lower has also experienced terrible loss, with his father and younger brother dying in a car accident nearly 15 years ago.
The 30-year-old spent a few minutes with PGA TOUR Digital chatting about all the highs, and one tough low, in his life to this point.
- FeaturesLifelong Cleveland sports fan Justin Lower throw Indians first pitch
How would you assess your 2019 season?
I want to be more consistent. I feel like I play well on the weekends, so I feel like if I can get into a winning mindset beforehand, I don’t have to worry about getting into the weekend and playing well. I told my fiancée, I hate missing cuts. I have FOMO about it (laughs). I want to play on weekends. I just want to play every weekend because I feel like it’s more fun on the weekends. The crowds get more into it. It’s just more fun for me. It has been an inconsistent year, but it has had some bright spots like the second-place finish in Louisiana, but I’d really like to be more consistent.
To be more consistent, is it something you need to work on golf swing-wise, or mentally?
It’s the mental approach/attitude for sure. (In Knoxville) I didn’t have the best attitude and that hurt, for sure. I liked (Fox Den Country Club) and I feel like I could have done really well. I’ve had success there before. I was pretty disappointed with myself. I’m just trying to have a good mental attitude about everything – especially a positive attitude. I’m just trying to build on that for sure.
When did you realize, growing up, that you wanted to make a living out of playing golf?
In high school, you always dream about it, same with college. I didn’t think I could do it until my junior year of college. That’s when I started playing really well and shooting low scores … not really consistently but it would pop up more often, which was nice. You get that confidence. I had a really good year my junior year of college and that gave me the confidence to know I could do it.
Growing up in the northern U.S., what did you do in the winters?
In college I would hang (my clubs) up a bit. We had indoor facilities we’d go to in college, and I still go to some of the same ones. I just recently moved back to Ohio last July, so I spent all this past winter mainly up there. I came down to Florida about a week before the Bahamas, mainly just to get some reps in on grass (laughs). I was able to play quite a bit (in Ohio) but it’s not the same. It’s nice to actually play and see the ball actually fly and not hit a net 70 yards in front of me. In college I’d hang them up and play basketball or just do indoor stuff and hit the gym. Now that it’s my livelihood, I’m a little more serious at it and don’t put (the clubs) away for too long, maybe a day or two. I’ve got a good system of places up north I can go to. Luckily enough the basement in our new house is big enough (where) I can swing. I’ve put a net in there and kind of made a makeshift putting green. It’s maintenance stuff; I’m not really grinding down there.
Why did you decide to move back to Ohio?
I’m getting married in September and it’s just hard on my fiancée. We’re gone for long periods of time so it was just easier to be close to family for the both of us, not just her. It’s a nice change. We were in Charlotte, North Carolina before that which was nice; the weather was good and we loved it, but we just wanted to be closer to family.
- FeaturesJustin Lower and NASCAR driver Justin Allgaier swap driving lessons
How did you guys meet?
We actually went to high school together but there was no romantic interest. Not even a friendship interest, really. She claims I didn’t talk in high school, but she was the one who wouldn’t even talk to me back then (laughs). We grew up in the same small town and we kept in touch. We got talking again at the end of 2013 and started officially dating in the beginning of 2014.
Speaking of Ohio, how excited are you for all the moves the Cleveland Browns made this offseason?
Oh my gosh. It’s exciting for sure. It’s kind of like the Cavaliers were the past couple years before LeBron left again. With northeast Ohio in general being a football town, it could be really exciting if they start to play well. It’s a lot of talent on paper and I’m a little worried about that. Hopefully it’ll translate over, especially with a first-year head coach; that kind of worries me as well, but I think we’ve got the right tools for sure. We just need to get everyone to gel together. And the schedule is somewhat brutal. I would be happy with 10-6, I think it would secure a wildcard spot and maybe get the division. I think Pittsburgh will hold their own; they always have our number. I don’t think Cincinnati is anything to worry about. Baltimore is on the downfall – but what do I know? (laughs).
Did you play other sports growing up?
I played baseball growing up. I thought I was pretty good at it. I batted leadoff and played second base and I would play outfield from time-to-time. I loved playing baseball … It was all I wanted to do up until I was 12 or 13. I just loved playing Little League and I played on travel teams and I had a lot of fun doing it. But I would always get into hitting slumps when golf season would start back up, and that’s not really what you want your leadoff hitter to be (laughs).
Were you so good at baseball that you had to formally choose between the two sports?
I had to choose and it was a tough decision, but I chose golf. I liked the individual aspect of golf more. It’s all on you. And the competitiveness of it … I like to compete, at anything really. That’s what I liked about it for sure.
Making Northeast Ohio proud.
Justin Lower (@JustinLower_1) came through in the clutch to secure a spot in the top 45 at Final Stage … and guaranteed #WebTour starts in 2018.4711:08 PM – Dec 10, 201715 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy
One of your earliest memories of professional golf is watching Tiger Woods at Firestone Country Club, where they hosted the WGC-Bridgestone for many years. What do you remember most?
I just remember going there every year with my dad; we’d go once, maybe twice in a week when it came to town, and then I started volunteering for the tournament so I would get more access that way. I think I volunteered for the Bridgestone one year and then for the Senior PGA Championship in 2002 when it came to town. With Tiger, I remember the shot in the dark – I was there earlier in the day, but I left when the rain delay happened. I remember being there Friday when he shot 61, and Saturday he started birdie-eagle-birdie but then he parred out. It was just craziness. He was lapping the field. He played with Jose Maria Olazabal who had the course record, but Tiger tied it. Jose Maria was in contention but then Tiger, in typical Tiger fashion, he grew the lead and never relinquished it. He played with Hal Sutton the last day in 2000, and I remember going to a clinic he put on the Monday morning before he left and they had it at the public nine of Firestone. He was hitting on the back of the green down the fairway. The way that green is, it’s kind of a stadium setting so everyone was sitting on grass. It was pretty cool; it was him and Butch Harmon. That’s what I remember about it for sure.
Since you just turned 30, I assume Tiger is the main professional golfer who inspired you growing up?
Oh yeah, for sure. You ask anyone out here and Tiger is the answer. It’s crazy because even some guys who don’t like him, you still see his mannerisms. When you hit a bad shot, he made it cool to finish one-handed. Walking in putts. Fist pumps. Even if you don’t like him, the mannerisms bleed into what you’re doing because he made it look so good and effortless. He is the needle of golf, and 99 percent of the time it’s for good reasons.
Tell me the story about throwing out the first pitch at the Cleveland Indians game?
It was the week of the DAP Championship, and it was on Tuesday. I’ve never been on field level at a major league setting. I think I played it wrong (laughs). I like to be on time, but I got there way too early. They kind of iced me. I was nowhere near ready to throw out a first pitch. No warm-up, no nothing. There were four pitchers in front of me, and two were under the age of eight and they both got it over the plate. I had to put some air under (my pitch), I thought, because if I didn’t make it over the plate I was going to look like a moron. I didn’t throw it near as hard as I wanted to. I didn’t lob it, but I didn’t wing it in there. It may have been a strike, it may have been a ball – might have been a borderline call.
How well do you know your Latin America countries?
Christian Brand (@SeeBrand) and Justin Lower (@JustinLower_1) put their knowledge to the test.2511:26 AM – Feb 1, 2018See Web.com Tour’s other TweetsTwitter Ads info and privacy
If you do it again, you know what time to show up at now, at least?
Yes, absolutely! I went for batting practice beforehand, to watch. Then we had to leave, and I had to go back and check-in again to throw out the first pitch. We went down this long tunnel and they gave me the ball and were very adamant I hold on to it. Then they’re like, ‘You can go on the field now,’ but I felt like I was out there for half-an-hour. I had friends calling me from different parts of the stadium: “Look in right field!” and I saw five people standing there waving at me. It was kind of crazy.
I wanted to look around and take it all in, but I know they were pressed for time since I was the fifth pitch … just get it over with. I kind of did a little peek around, like, “Wow, this is pretty cool,” but I knew they were pressed for time.
With almost 15 years having gone by since you lost your father and brother to an accident, do you still feel the pain of that loss every day?
I would say it comes every other day. There are weeks that are worse than others, days that are worse than others. Like Father’s Day, it’s not easy. My brother’s birthday. My dad’s birthday. Easter. The holidays and their specific days aren’t easy, just because it’s family and those days are meant to be spent with family. It’s tough, but I have a great support system.
I think about them all the time, especially my brother. He was only 10 and he was five years younger than me, so it would have been really nice to have that relationship with him now. Now he’d be 24 going on 25 and … would he be caddying for me? Would he be traveling with me some weeks? Who knows where he’d be now? I’ll be honest, I see other guys have their dads out here … and it’s not jealously or envy, but just that I wish I would have one week with him out here. It’d be cool. Then I hear of stories around the world and the country where someone says, ‘Yeah I haven’t spoken to my dad in like 10 years.’ You know what I would give to speak with my dad just one time? It’s a different perspective on life for sure.
How has that support system been?
They’ve been great, especially my mom. It was a huge growing process for my mom and I. It was always my dad and myself and my mom and my brother. Once the accident happened, we weren’t like, re-introduced to each other but we were like, ‘Wow – nice to see you again.’ I grew really close with my mom once it happened. People around where I grew up, like the owner at my home golf course … he became a pretty close friend of mine. Just friends that I’ve had since that day, they’ve been nothing but supportive.
CBS and PGA Tour Entertainment teamed up to profile PGA Tour rookie Hank Lebioda and his journey not only to the PGA Tour but also his fight with Crohn’s Disease and how he manages the condition as he competes with the best in the world on a weekly basis.
Ranger Ready Repellents, a new mosquito, tick and fly repellent has engaged, Matt Adams, the founder and host of Fairways of Life. A renown golf commentator, Mr. Adams is widely recognized as an expert on golf and how golfers from beginners to the pros get more out of the game. Ranger Ready Repellents is working together with Mr. Adams to help build awareness among golfers around the threat of tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease.
“This year, the CDC anticipates about 7,000 new cases of Lyme disease will be diagnosed in the U.S. each week during tick season (May through August),” said Chris L. Fuentes, founder and CEO of Ranger Ready Repellents. “The peak months for tick bites are May thru August when over 300 million rounds of golf are played across the United States every year. “Ranger Ready is creating a public service announcement series to provide important safety tips for golfers to play every round protected from tick and insect bites,” noted Fuentes. “We could not be more pleased than to have trusted golf insider, Matt Adams help share this important message that could save your life,” said Fuentes.
“It’s not often that you get to work with products you actually get emotionally engaged in,” said Matt Adams the day after filming the public services series How to Play Every Round Protected. “Our goal is to help golfers around the country avoid being an unfortunate statistic and start being protected from tick and mosquito borne diseases,” said Adams. SHOP NOW
To kick off the campaign, Ranger Ready engaged with Golf Channel and PGATour.com to promote the partnership with Matt. The activation led to record setting daily sales numbers in the first week!
Web.com Tour player Justin Hueber joined the crew at No Laying Up for Episode 2 of Wild World of Golf. Hueber pairs with Big Randy for a 9 hole alternate match agains Soly and Tron Carter.
Matt Adams and his colleagues on Morning Drive discussed the difficult conditions lined up for the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass.
CDC Recommended Insect Repellent Inks Agreement with Matt Adams, Award Winning Golf Broadcaster and NY Times Best Selling Author
Orlando, FL – March 12, 2019 – Ranger Ready Repellents, a new mosquito, tick and fly repellent has engaged, Matt Adams, the founder and host of Fairways of Life. A renown golf commentator, Mr. Adams is widely recognized as an expert on golf and how golfers from beginners to the pros get more out of the game. Ranger Ready Repellents is working together with Mr. Adams to help build awareness among golfers around the threat of tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease.
“This year, experts anticipate about 7,000 new cases of Lyme disease will be diagnosed in the U.S. each week”, said Chris L. Fuentes, founder and CEO of Ranger Ready Repellents. “The peak months for tick bites are May thru August when over 300 million rounds of golf are played across the United States every year,” “Ranger Ready is creating a public service announcement series to provide important safety tips for golfers to play every round protected from tick and insect bites” noted Fuentes. “We could not be more pleased than to have trusted golf insider, Matt Adams help share this important message that could save your life.” said Fuentes.
“It’s not often that you get to work with products you actually get emotionally engaged in” said Matt Adams the day after filming the public services series How to Play Every Round Protected. “Our goal is to help golfers around the country avoid being an unfortunate statistic and start being protected from tick and mosquito borne diseases,” said Adams.
Ranger Ready utilizes the active ingredient Picaridin 20%, which is recommended by the CDC as a safe, effective long-lasting repellent. “Picaridin has been safely used in Europe for over 25 years as an effective and safe alternative to DEET”, said Fuentes. “Picaridin is safe for adults and children over one year old. We wanted to create a bug spray people would want to wear and was effective for the pros who have to wear protection everyday,” noted Fuentes.
# # #
Ranger Ready Repellents®is a brand of the PiC20 Group, LLC, a privately held company based in Norwalk, CT that exclusively utilizes the active ingredient Picaridin to invent, manufacture and distribute DEET-free insect repellents. Under the brand name Ranger Ready Repellents, the company offers premium American-made repellents to safely protect adults and children from tick and insect bites that may cause serious disease. www.rangerready.com
Fairways of Life: The Fairways of Life Show, the most listened to golf in the
world, is an entertaining and fun platform for inside information,
unforgettable interviews with the game’s
legends and stars, as well as lively interactive discussions about the game,
travel and the latest in golf equipment. Matt Adams’
passion for the game and for life creates a show that’s unlike any other and
will keep you informed, entertained and engaged. It can be heard
live Monday – Friday at 8:00 a.m. EST on the Fairways of Life Apps (available
in both iOS and Android) and www.FairwaysofLife.com.
Lauren Thompson served as emcee and host for the Ambassador Dinner hosted by Mastercard at the Arnold Palmer Invitational this week.
Guests of Mastercard and industry VIPs enjoyed a private cocktail party and dinner at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club and Lodge. During the evening, Lauren hosted panel discussions with Mastercard PGA Tour ambassadors including Tom Watson, Curtis Strange, Mark O’Meara, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell, Arinban Lahiri, Brandt Snedeker, Sam Burns and Beau Hossler.
The PGA Tour’s Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Invitational presented by Mastercard will take place March 7th thru the 10th in Orlando, Florida.
No Laying Up and Fidelity Sports have collaborated to assemble the “Young Hitters” Program on the Web.com Tour. The team of five rising FSG clients on the Web.com Tour will represent NLU for the season and work with the brand to help tell their story, develop unique content and track their progress towards the PGA Tour in 2020.
Fort Worth, Texas – January 21, 2019 – As one of the game’s most iconic brands, Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company (BHG) is enjoying a strong resurgence backed by a unique factory-direct business model that provides
tour-quality, high-performance golf clubs at a fraction of competitive brand pricing. Today, with an ever-growing following among serious golfers, and on the heels of multi-million dollar sales growth in 2018, the Company has
announced the signing of nationally recognized golf instructor, Travis Fulton, as a brand ambassador.
“Travis Fulton is an accomplished golf instructor with a devoted following among golfers who closely align with the products offered by Ben Hogan Golf,” said Scott White, CEO, Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company. “Travis brings our brand a wealth of knowledge and a unique understanding of the game. We are fortunate to have him as a strategic advisor and somebody that will help us keep our finger on the pulse of serious players. We think he has the credibility and charisma to be a great addition to our team of brand ambassadors.” White adds, “At a time when the retail golf equipment market has driven prices to unprecedented levels, brand ambassadors like Travis will help promote the Ben Hogan Golf’s direct-to-consumer business model. He can help us explain how we are able to offer tour-quality golf clubs to golfers at hundreds of dollars less than they would pay for
competitive brand products in the mark-up driven retail sector. We want serious golfers to know that we are not beholden to retail sales cycles and shelf re-sets, and we bring products to market only when they are worthy of the l
Matt Adams asks Golf Channel insiders Tim Rosaforte and Jaime Diaz who they would take in 2019, Brooks Koepka or Dustin Johnson.
From an audience of 33 million listeners on SiriusXM, the award-winning broadcaster and New York Timesbest-selling author is entering a realm where the reach of multiple platforms for golf’s largest independent digital talk radio show has the potential to extend to over two-and-a-half billion consumers worldwide.
Daunting in prospect but this is where Adams’ business and distribution sights have been set for quite some time now. When Dominic Scarano, Fairways of Life producer, flips the ‘On Air’ switch Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. EST the culmination of months of work and preparation without any sort of blueprint to go from will be realized.
“The scale of what we’re doing has taken a very long time to build,” Adams said in a phone interview Tuesday morning shortly after announcing his intentions for Fairways of Life. “It’s like any other business venture where you go into it with the best of intent but once you get mired in the details of what it’s going to be or what you hope it will be you realize how complicated it is. To get this done has been quite a process.”
Receiving the necessary platform approvals to get this business plan across the finish line should be considered a coup. While FairwaysofLife.com and theFairways of LifeApp will serve as internal distribution drivers, the Monday-Friday show will also have global accessibility through iHeart Radio, TuneIn Radio, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, Twitter, Facebook, Spreaker and Amazon Alexa. Google Play alone represents 1 billion potential consumers.
“Once we were ready to try and get the approvals from these massive global platforms, and frankly we didn’t know if we could or not, but once it started to happen it was one, after another, after another, until we had all of them we were targeting,” Adams explained.
Support from longtime advertisers and marketing partners was pretty much across the board. Being able to garner ad programs already in line with what Adams was charging, but with the prospects for another 2 billion plus potential consumers, seems like the proverbial no-brainer for those companies, many of whom must have felt like Christmas had come early with Adams posing as Santa Claus.
As it relates to worldwide expansion, if FoL maintains the level of success it has enjoyed since Adams founded the show in 2007 the global numbers and return on investment for business partners could be huge.
“All of them (advertisers-marketing partners) kind of chuckled and said, sure, let’s give it a try,” he said. “I think they viewed it as no risk because what they were spending wasn’t enough to cause them great concern and from my standpoint I just needed enough of them to make sure I had everything funded. My objective was to ensure the funding would stretch out for at least a year to give us the time we needed to get our sea legs.”
Since Adams owns the FoL brand and its complete library of content he will have a great deal of flexibility in negotiating deals with current and future advertisers. One thing Adams made clear: he does not diminish what that support has meant as he boldly takes FoL to another level of global profile.
“The bottom line is any new business that comes into existence has to make sure it has the underpinning of financing in order to afford to do what it’s doing and wants to do,” he said. “That was a conscious part of building this.”
With all of that said there still remains an element of risk Adams assumes in taking FoL global. With the show’s target demographic generally being older there was concern that the various distribution platforms could be considered complicated for individuals who might not understand how, or even where, to access apps through the digital tier.
Adams believes that risk still exists to some degree.
“We’re absolutely making a massive assumption that the golf demographic is ready for new systems of distribution,” he said. “If you go to younger generations, my kids’ ages and a bit older, they’re already consuming their audio, whether its music or podcasts or news shows, through these various digital means. We didn’t know if the golf demographic was ready for it.”
Evidence, at least initially, seems to indicate it is. Adams has heard from all the commissioners or chief executives of golf’s major governing bodies, each one expressing excitement and enthusiasm for taking a daily golf talk show and moving it to a global platform. Though early in the process, golfers worldwide are jumping on the bus.
“We’re getting engagement from tens of thousands of people since the news broke a little while ago,” he said. “That engagement comes from signing up on the website, downloading apps and what’s really interesting, which has been our hope from the start, the contact we’re getting is coming from all over the globe. The fact we knowingly structured it as a free entertainment service was very important to us.”
What has Adams excited professionally is the freedom he will have withFairways of Lifeprogramming each day. Without the limitations of dictated commercial and news breaks and a specific broadcast window he’s excited about the possibilities for listeners.
“If an interview is going great and we feel like staying on we are in an endless space, this absolute ether of room, and we’ll just keep going if we feel like it. There are no limits.”
Having become a fixture onGolf Channelalong with the broadcast work he does for the European Tour it’s a fair question to ask why Adams even needs his FoL show at this point of his career. Knowing him for the best part of 25 years I wasn’t surprised by his response.
“It’s what I’ve always done. FoL blends so well with what I do withGolf Channeland I think this is going to free me up to do more, especially Morning Drive, because of the time we’re on and the flexibility we’ll have in doing the program,” he said. “But you know I love the intimacy of radio. I love the friendship of it and I love the conversation that it is. Golf on a global basis is the eighth largest sport in the world. On a global basis it’s bigger than the NFL. I have no doubt that by having FoL available globally, and for free, we’re going to tap into the hearts and minds of people who share our common passion.”
Award winning broadcaster takes show worldwide beginning November 7 at 8:00 a.m. EST.
Orlando, FL— After over a decade on SiriusXM Radio, Matt Adams, the award-winning broadcaster, writer, New York Times best-selling author and Golf Channel commentator, is taking his nationally acclaimed golf radio show, Fairways of Life global.
Adams and Fairways of Life announced today that the largest independent digital show in golf talk radio history will be available for free across the U.S. and worldwide beginning this week on November 7, at 8amEST.
Adams, who has been the host of the program since its inception in 2007, remains as enthusiastic as ever.
“We are so excited to be able to provide in-depth golf radio content to all of the USA and around the world on air, online and on demand for free,” Adams said. “It makes it so simple now to find the Fairways of Life Show on whatever device consumers use to listen, whether it be live or on-demand, through every major digital audio platform.”
Fairways of Life with Matt Adams will be live Monday – Friday at 8:00 a.m. EST on FairwaysofLife.com and the Fairways of Life App (available in both iOS and Android). Click on the link below to download the App.
Android App: Fairways of Life Android
iOS App: Fairway of Life iOS
In addition, Fairways of Life with Matt Adams can be heard on iHeart Radio (90 million), TuneIn Radio (60 million) and on-demand worldwide 24/7 on every major audio digital platform reaching billions of consumers including; iTunes (800 million), Spotify (170 million), Stitcher, Google Play (1 billion), Twitter (330 million) and Facebook (1.86 billion) as well as, Spreaker and Amazon Alexa.
Fairways of Life’s unprecedented worldwide distribution will instantly cause the show to become the most widely distributed daily live golf talk show in the world.
About Fairways of Life with Matt Adams
The Fairways of Life Show, the most listened to golf in the world, is an entertaining and fun platform for inside information, unforgettable interviews with the game’s legends and stars, as well as lively interactive discussions about the game, travel and the latest in golf equipment. Matt Adams’ passion for the game and for life creates a show that’s unlike any other and will keep you informed, entertained and engaged.
To learn more about the Fairways of Life show with Matt Adams please visit https://www.fairwaysoflife.com/ and stay connected through our various social media:
Android App: Fairways of Life Android
iOS App: Fairway of Life iOS
Facebook: Fairways of Life
About Matt Adams
Matt Adams, a Golf Channel personality, multiple-time New York Times best-selling author, and host of Fairways of Life with Matt Adams, has become one of the golf industry’s top voices, broadcaster and expert in golf business, equipment, and history. For over 30-years, Adams has worked in golf club operations, golf equipment and golf media. He is an expert in golf equipment technology spending years in the OEM side of the game, having designed and/or built golf clubs for the biggest names in the industry, including Nicklaus, MacGregor, Ram and Wilson. Adams has been called “the best interviewer in golf” by golfing legends including Billy Casper and Gary Player.
Adams broadcasting talents have been featured on the SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, BBC, ESPN, Golf Channel, PGA Tour Entertainment, European Tour Productions and DirecTV, among others. He has hosted broadcasts from every Major Championship and multiple Ryder Cups.
Media personality Lauren Thompson, currently host for Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” and NBC’s “The Champion Within,” will serve as master of ceremonies for various events at the 2019 Golf Industry Show in San Diego. The Golf Industry Show is presented by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).
The Golf Industry Show, which includes the GCSAA Golf Championships, the GCSAA Education Conference and the industry trade show, offers a dynamic, progressive week of unparalleled networking opportunities and hands-on access to golf course and facility management solutions for golf industry professionals. GCSAA will also host marquee events to recognize its annual award winners.
Thompson will host the Opening Session, presented in partnership with Syngenta, on Feb. 6, and the Closing Celebration, presented in partnership with John Deere, on Feb. 7. In addition, she will be on the trade show floor on Feb. 6 to honor winners of GCSAA’s Leo Feser Award and Edwin Budding Award.
“We are honored to have Lauren be a part of the Golf Industry Show,” Rhett Evans, GCSAA CEO said. “Her knowledge of the game and the industry makes her the perfect host, and she has many fans among our attendees.”
A native of Orlando, Fla., and a graduate of the University of Central Florida, Thompson’s ten years on Golf Channel are part of a long career in television reporting, research and production. She is a self-confessed “golf nut.”
“It’s a game you can take up at any age, and enjoy for the rest of your life,” Thompson said. “The game grows with each new golfer, and I love promoting the game.”
More information about the Golf Industry Show is available at www.golfindustryshow.com.
About GCSAA and the EIFG
The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) is a leading golf organization in the United States. Its focus is on golf course management, and since 1926 GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the U.S. and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to nearly 18,000 members in more than 78 countries. The association’s mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. Visit GCSAA at www.gcsaa.org, or find us on Facebook or Twitter. Visit our industry-leading magazine at GCMonline.com.
The Environmental Institute for Golf is the philanthropic organization of the GCSAA. Its mission is to foster sustainability through research, awareness, education, programs and scholarships for the benefit of golf course management professionals, golf facilities and the game. Visit EIFG at www.eifg.org, or find us on Facebook or Twitter.
Matt Adams covers the game improvement technology featured in the brand new line of Tour Edge equipment
Following his fourth runner-up finish of the 2018 PGA Tour Champions season at the Sanford International, Tim Petrovic spent time with Golf Channel to provide tips to improve your bunker play.
“The Champion Within” features the powerful and inspiring stories of successful athletes who exemplify what it really means to be a champion. Hosted by Lauren Thompson of Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive,” “The Champion Within” introduces audiences to professional and amateur athletes who have overcome obstacles to ultimately achieve transcendent moments in the world of sports. “The Champion Within” proves that a champion is not only defined by their speed, strength and agility, but also by their grit, resilience and heart.
The award-winning program has been picked up for a Third Season on the NBC Network, as part of the “The More You Know” Saturday morning programming block.
Episodes can be viewed at https://www.nbc.com/the-champion-within
Matt Adams and Jaime Diaz discussed on Golf Channel’s Golf Central how they define whether or not Tiger Woods is “back” after his recent 2nd place finish at the PGA Championship and his 64 in the final round.
Lauren: You know, I’m a pretty open book. My life has taken its share of surprising twists and turns as far as a career path goes, but back in the day- high school or so- I was extremely studious and dead-set on being a Nurse. Early college days were spent in the library, sometimes 4 to 5 hours a night… then things changed a bit, my major included. I started socializing more (important in college!), joined a sorority (one that still placed heavy incentive on academics) and began modeling: the money was an easy motivator for a college kid. Then, I caught the “TV bug” with infomercials, car commercials, hosting roles and that was it: The adrenaline combined with the challenge had me hooked.
Adam: What failures, setbacks or challenges have been most instrumental to your development and success?
Lauren: Everyone faces setbacks… some more public than others. A few people have assumed that my career now vs. “the bikini days” are polar opposites, but I always found it quite empowering. It’s unfortunate that people try and use it as ammo against you, but I own it. True, after two kids it isn’t exactly my cup of tea anymore… but maybe it will give me some inspiration a few years down the road when gravity takes it’s toll. 😉
Adam: In your experience, what are the common qualities among those who have been able to enjoy success in media and broadcasting?
Lauren: Bob and weave, baby! You have to be able to roll with the punches. To take on new tasks. To be able to say “yes” and then put in some real work to hone your craft. That’s the definition of live TV in my mind. The show must go on, and to be confident in your abilities- and confident in your team- will save you over and over again. A positive attitude is what I believe has helped me the most… but that’s any job.
Adam: Who have been the biggest influences in your life and why?
Lauren: Hands-down, my mom. We lost my Dad to a brain tumor just 2 weeks before my 1st birthday. Although I don’t remember this time in my life for obvious reasons, I can’t forget the crazy strength she showed at every turn. She was a teacher. Tired. Over-worked and like most in her field, underpaid. She knew the proving grounds for women- then and now- and was never scared to show her teeth of need be. She demonstrated to me how much you have to work for things you want, and how nothing worthwhile will simply be handed to you. I pray my kids learn from me, as well.
Adam: What are the best lessons you have learned through your career that are applicable to those who will never earn a living in front of or behind the camera?
Lauren: Wow… I would say to never back down from a challenge. Life is far too short to play it safe. That’s boring. If your dreams are completely out of line with your daily life, you’re doing something wrong. And the best part is, you have the power to turn it around. So do it! And if you mess up.. guess what, no one’s perfect so take another stab at it. You’ll only find out what you’re capable of, and likely will surprise yourself.
Adam: What is the single best piece of advice you have ever received?
Lauren: Don’t burn bridges. This happens left and right in the entertainment industry. People leaving other companies and opportunities for the bigger/ better piece of the pie, without realizing just how interconnected things are. Word gets around fast, both good and bad, and if you treat people with respect and are honest… you’ll rule the world.
Adam: What are your hobbies and how have they shaped you?
Lauren: Honestly, I’ve become a world class napper because of Morning Drive! (laughs) .. No really, I can fall asleep on a dime. It’s a real skill. I think all parents have this in their tool kit… but as far as real “hobbies”… golf is an easy one. Not just because it’s what we live and breathe on Golf Channel, but because of what it offers to my family. Time outside, in the fresh air, where cell phone use is frowned upon, and real conversations can happen organically. That is my happy place.
Adam: What is one thing everyone should be doing to pay it forward?
Lauren: It’s pretty simple I think. It’s the easiest thing in the world really. Just treat others how you yourself would like to be treated. That’s it. No gray area. And smile at people. I used to be almost entertained by how random people respond when you smile at them. Now, I just see it as the best form of contagion.
Willy Wilcox is in his 10th year as a professional golfer. The Alabama resident is enjoying a successful season thus far on theTour, with two top-5 finishes that currently place him in one of the top 25 spots that earn a PGA Tour card for next season. The 31-year-old had status on the PGA Tour the past four seasons, with his best season coming in 2015—earning more than $1.1 million—and Wilcox’s career earnings are more than $3.2 million. He once shot 59 in a Tour event, but his most famous highlight was a hole-in-one on No. 17 at the 2016 Players Championship and his epic celebration. We caught up with Wilcox ahead of this week’s Players Championship.
How often are you reminded of your hole-in-one on No. 17 at the Players?
“Pretty regularly. It’s still surreal. And I definitely think it’s good I made that hole-in-one because nobody else was going to react like I did. A lot of guys, like Sergio’s reaction wasn’t great (laughs). I mean, they’re going to play it every year. But with me, it was just a flood of everything, so it was pretty sweet. And it really resonates with kids and people who would react the same way. Kids from all over the world have contacted me or come up to me and said, ‘If I made a hole-in-one, I would have reacted the same way.’ So that’s pretty cool.”
Is No. 17 really as uncomfortable and scary as everyone says it is?
“When you’re just playing with it buddies, it’s almost funny if you hit it into the water. But if you’re in tournament play, it’s not as funny. And I did hit it in the water the next round. That day the pin was up, the wind was pumping into out of the left so it was a 120 number and you’re hitting 8-iron, so that’s a lot different than flipping a pitching wedge. So that hole, when the wind is blowing is an absolute animal.”
How does your mind-set change playing on theTour vs. the PGA Tour?
“I look at it different from most players. If I’m paying my bills and playing golf, then I’m in good shape. So I’m more motivated now than I was on the PGA Tour last year just because I found my game again, I’m not losing a few balls every round. Last year was such a tough year. I was so unmotivated because I was playing so bad — I just couldn’t wait for it to be over. Because that’s a hard spot to be in because everybody’s so good and I just developed some bad habits, that six months into the season, there’s not much you can do, so you’re kind of screwed. So this year now that I’m playing well, I go into every week, it feels like the Masters.”
What did you learn from your buddy Ryan Armour recently winning his first PGA Tour title?
“He broke through at 43, which is awesome. Basically, it took him awhile to get a perfect set up. I just believe stronger in dialing in equipment after seeing what he did. It took him awhile, but now that he’s got it figured out, he’s got about 20 extra yards in the air. He’s hitting his 7-iron 180 where as before he was like a 166 7-iron. So the more technology, the more ability to tinker comes out, not necessarily with heads and shafts, but just learning how to dial in equipment with lofts, lies, grinds, weighting. Before I just grabbed a club and started playing, but now I’m looking around and seeing how dialed in everyone is so now I’m going to TrueSpec and I’m trying to stay on top of my equipment better. All these other guys have that advantage, so I might at least do it as well.”
You’re a huge Tiger Woods fan as evidenced by your Twitter feed. Have you had any brushes with him?
“Nothing good (laughs). Honestly, I had a little thing with him at Medalist a few years ago where I was taking a video of him on the range and he was pretty offended. So yeah, that didn’t work out pretty good. I think he might know who I am, and I don’t think he’s a big fan. So that’s kind of depressing, but I’ll continue to love him.”
After finishing sixth on his European Challenge Tour debut in the Belt and Road Colourful Yunnan Open earlier this month, Charlie Saxon is targeting another top-ten finish at this week’s Turkish Airlines Challenge.
The American will tee it up at Gloria Golf Club this week after receiving an invitation from Challenge Tour Director Alain De Soultrait and is aiming to build on his solid showing in China.
Born in Oklahoma in the United States, Saxon has previously plied his trade on various tours including PGA Tour Latinoamérica, the China Tour and the Web.com Tour, enjoying relative success.
The 24 year old already has two wins under his belt this season, both of which occurred on the China Tour.
A final round 66 clinched a one-shot victory at the Shenzhou Peninsula Classic as Saxon triumphed in his first tournament of the year.
Saxon then claimed another superb win at the China Tour’s second event of the year, the Bo Ao Open, by shooting four sublime rounds of 65-69-64-67 to extend his lead at the top of the tour’s Order of Merit.
Although he believes putting himself under too much pressure could have an adverse effect on his game, Saxon has his sights set on another high finish at this week’s Turkish Airlines Challenge.
“Obviously I would love to finish in the top ten in order to get into the Challenge de España,” the American said.
“That would be my goal for the week but I don’t think you can put too much pressure on yourself.
“It’s a great opportunity and I’ll come out here and play as well as I can but at the end of the day, putting extra pressure on yourself really isn’t going to help.”
Saxon has expressed his gratitude to the Challenge Tour for the invitation to play in Antalya this week and is feeling confident in his own game.
“I’m thankful to the sponsors and to Alain De Soultrait and it’s another opportunity to hopefully earn more money on this tour and potentially get through the re-rank,” he said.
“The course looks wonderful and the hotel we’re staying at is great. Everybody’s been really friendly so it should be a really good week.
“I’m confident in my game and I’m confident in my ability. At the end of the day, golf’s a game against the course and on this tour there’s certainly more players of a higher calibre than on some of the other tours I’m used to playing.
“Good golf’s good golf and I know if I’m playing good golf then I can compete and contend.
“I obviously recognise how difficult it is out here on the Challenge Tour. These are some of the best players in the world and I’m happy to be out here playing and I’m just thankful for the opportunity.”
Many professional golfers are extremely superstitious.
For Brandon Matthews, a 2016 adult and organizational development alumnus [of Temple University] and current player on the Web.com Tour, superstition starts with the quarter he uses as a ball-marker.
“I will never use a quarter that is above the year 1969,” Matthews said. “If I have a 1974 quarter, to me that is like shooting 74.”
Matthews moved from 103rd on the Web.com Tour to 74th after he tied for 10th at the North Mississippi Classic last weekend. He hopes to finish the season within the top-25 money winners to earn his PGA Tour card.
Matthews’s girlfriend Danielle Maslany gave him a special quarter for Christmas this year.
“When we get change, we look at the date of all the quarters,” said Maslany, a 2013 journalism alumna who met Matthews through an interview she conducted for OwlSports Update. “I went online and found a 1959 quarter and bought it for him. I don’t think we will ever be lucky enough to find one in circulation, so I thought it would be cool to get him one to use.”
Maslany has seen several of Matthews’s most successful finishes. At Temple, Matthews won eight times as an individual. Just five months into his debut on the PGA Tour Latinoamérica, Matthews won at the Molino Cañuelas Championship in Argentina in March 2017.
He became the youngest American to win a PGA Tour Latinoamérica event.
“Winning so early took a lot of stress off of me,” Matthews said. “Throughout my career as an amateur, I always tried to be the best that I can be. Going out and winning was really nice but something that I expected as a competitor.”
Matthews ranked 10th on the PGA Tour Latinoamérica’s Order of Merit in October 2017, which allowed him to make it to the final stage of tour-qualifying school. His high finish at q-school qualified him for the first eight starts of the Web.com Tour.
Matthews only competed in five of those eight possible starts because of food poisoning and a back injury. He has had back problems since high school and regularly sees a chiropractor.
“It’s a learning process,” Maslany said. “He is identifying how to better care for his body, and we make changes to incorporate that into our life.”
Matthews said he stretches for an average of 30 to 45 minutes each morning while also watching what he eats and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
“It is an annoying thing because I have to do things 55-year-olds have to do in the morning as far as stretching goes,” Matthews said. “I shouldn’t have to do this at 23 years old.”
Despite back issues, Matthews’s average drive this season goes 313.3 yards, which ranks fourth out of more than 150 players on the Web.com Tour. He also has a 4.16 birdie average, which is 14th-best on the tour.
Matthews said he relies heavily on his caddy, Jon “Sunshine” Lehman, for direction, especially when it comes to putting.
During the Pinnacle Bank Championship in Omaha, Nebraska, in July, Lehman was on the bag for Armando Favela, who had a rib injury. Matthews qualified for the tournament through a sponsors exemption, a spot offered to a player by the tournament’s title sponsor when the player has not already qualified for the event. Matthews asked Lehman to be his caddy, and they have been together ever since.
“Brandon calls me in on nine out of 10 putts,” Lehman said. “He wants that opinion, and I love that because it makes me feel more involved.”
“Brandon is really good at driving the golf ball and is a superior ball striker,” Lehman added. “I have been with a lot of guys, and I have never seen anyone hit it as good as he does.”
Matthews has finished tied for 41st, tied for 56th, tied for 34th and tied for 10th in the four tournaments he made the cut for so far this year, resulting in a season’s earnings of $19,329.
Both Maslany and Lehman believe Matthews will make it to the next level. It is just a matter of when.
“I don’t want to jinx him or anything, but within the next year he will be on the big tour,” Lehman said. “He just has that kind of firepower and next-generation game that can kind of take over.”
“Realistically, it takes one really good week and one solid week to make it,” Matthews said. “I have 20 more tournaments left, and I think it is a reasonable possibility that I get there. It is all about fine-tuning my game and just putting it all together.”
Matt Adams is hosting The Skill Code on Golf Channel on Monday January 29 at 7pm ET with Cameron McCormick, the 2015 PGA Teacher of the year and coach to 3-time major champion Jordan Spieth. Cameron will unlocks the secrets to building championship golf skills. The Skill Code will each Monday nights at 7PM est on Golf Channel.
In this 12-part series McCormick will attempt to correct the misconceptions and mistakes that for nearly a century have been occurring in the golf instruction industry. Cameron McCormick believes the golfer needs to expand his/her basic understanding of why the ball reacts a certain way to his/her swing and once this is understood and processed, the golfer should be able to move in a positive direction to improve his/her golf game.
*Series available for purchase since November 2017 via Revolution Golf
Airtimes on Golf Channel:
Every Monday at 7pm ET, premiering January 29
GREAT ABACO, Bahamas – Will Wilcox has made 149 starts across the PGA TOUR and Web.com Tour, in addition to countless other amateur, college and mini-tour events.
Wilcox considers last week’s The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay — playing on a sponsor invite and knowing he needed a top-25 finish to keep his season going — as one of the most stressful weeks of his golf career.
Will Wilcox found himself tied atop the leaderboard at 6-under-par at The Great Abaco Classic after feeling intense pressure at the Great Exuma Classic. (Kevin Prise/PGA TOUR)
“My hands were shaking when I first teed off last week,” said Wilcox, who entered the season with only past champion status. “It was a lot of pressure … just a do-or-die moment. I’ve had a few in my career, and I’ve been lucky enough to get it done.”
Indeed, Wilcox rose up with a T13 finish to extend his season to this week’s The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at The Abaco Club. Most importantly, the finish will ensure him a strong position in the reshuffle that takes place after next month’s Club Colombia Championship.
Wilcox teed off at 6:55 a.m. Sunday in the opening round at The Abaco Club, and the peaceful setting matched his demeanor. Knowing that his season isn’t on the line this week, like it was in Exuma, the Alabama native produced a 6-under 66 to hold a share of the opening-round lead, with play suspended due to darkness.
The 31-year-old struggled to find success for the majority of 2017; he struggled to find a comfort level on the greens, and he missed all four cuts in the Web.com Tour Finals.
Wilcox discovered an alignment problem during the offseason, though. With the help of a mirror and some alignment tools, as well as Golf Channel’s Martin Hall, he got ‘going in the right direction.’
“I’ve always been lucky enough … to make putts just doing whatever felt right,” Wilcox said. “Basically what happened is I went too far in one direction. I kept opening my stance, opening my stance, and then the clubhead was aimed incorrectly.
“So you’ve got two competing factors, and then you have no idea where the putter face is with the ball. Fortunately, it was something that simple, but it took 30 days to where it felt normal. Now, it feels great.”
The three-month break between the Web.com Tour Championship and the season opener allowed Wilcox to ‘really grind on my putting’ – he figures he averaged two or three three-putts per round in 2017, and he knew that needed to change if he wanted to see better results this season.
So far, so good. Markedly improved putting, coupled with a swing tweak made about a month ago, give Wilcox reason to believe that better days are ahead.
“I knew that what I was working on was good, and you can feel it in your hands and the way the ball was coming out, and increased distance when you start hitting it better.” Wilcox said. “And the putting was just getting better and better and better throughout the offseason.
“On the first tee today, I was totally relaxed, other than it being pretty dark out. Now that last week is over with, I’m really feeling alright.”
THE POWER OF THREE
PRO GOLFER AND FINANCIAL TITAN TO SUPPORT OHIO NON PROFIT
Cleveland, Ohio, January 12, 2018 – Modern Woodmen – Fraternal Financial and OhioGuidestone, a nonprofit that serves over 36-thousand families, announce a partnership with professional golfer and Ohio native, Justin Lower.
The collaboration offers various components such as raising funds to help children and families served by OhioGuidestone and public awareness of the excellent work of both OhioGuidestone and Modern Woodmen, Fraternal Financial.
Specifically, Modern Woodmen plans to donate $100 per birdie Justin Lower makes on the 2018 Web.com Tour to OhioGuidestone. In addition, Lower plans to sport both organization logos on his apparel during the Web.com Tour. For Lower, the partnership is part of his journey.
“I had the opportunity to visit some of the youth served by OhioGuidestone,” said Lower. “I was so impressed with the work OhioGuidestone is doing to help break the cycle of poverty for Ohio children and families, I knew I wanted to find a way to be involved and help out. It really put things in perspective for me, of just how fortunate I am to chase my dream as a professional golfer.”
Justin Lower, professional golfer
Since 1883, Modern Woodmen – Fraternal Financial, a financial planning giant, has brought people together and supported communities. They are the nation’s third -largest fraternal benefit society in terms of assets. This new partnership builds upon its current relationship with OhioGuidestone,
“Supporting OhioGuidestone’s children and families has been an honor and a privilege for our fraternal members. Our joint passion to strengthen families and communities continues to grow through our partnership, and we are delighted to give back in this new and innovative initiative.” – Brian Souder, Managing Partner, Modern Woodmen – Fraternal Financial.
OhioGuidestone is a 154-year-old non-profit organization that helps families, children and individuals who face some of life’s most challenging situations, including mental illness, addiction, abuse and behavioral issues. Headquartered in Berea, Ohio, we have grown to serve over 36,000 children and families in Ohio.
“We are honored to have this national platform to showcase the great work we accomplish in Ohio and grateful for the generosity of Modern Woodmen – Fraternal Financial. We give Justin all of our heartfelt support as he golfs for our kids.” – Cindy Naegele, Vice President of Advancement and Communications for OhioGuidestone
Justin Lower is a native of Canal Fulton, Ohio and a graduate of Malone University where he was crowned National Champion, and was recognized with the Jack Nicklaus and David Toms Award as one of the top college collegiate golfers in the country. In 2018, Justin will play full-time on the Web.com Tour. PGA Tour stars such as Jim Furyk, Keegan Bradley, Zach Johnson, Jason Day and many more once competed on the Web.com Tour on their path to the PGA Tour.